Chris Trew has seen a lot of sex. Silly sex. Creative sex. Sex acts involving a "yogurt cannon." Except none of it's real.
A comedian by trade, Trew is the founder of a new breed of performance art: the Air Sex Championships. Think air-guitar competition, but with sex.
For the past seven years, Trew has toured the country, inviting the creative and the limber to stage a choreographed bit in which the performer enacts an intimate physical encounter - as realistically or ridiculously as he or she chooses.
Contestants dress in elaborate costumes, build props like the yogurt cannon (a new riff on the penis joke) or simply show off their moves, set to music. He brings the operation to Kung Fu Necktie on Wednesday.
The competition has just two rules. First, no participant may achieve climax, although faking it is certainly encouraged.
Second, the audience may not see performer's sex partner. All air, all imagination.
"It's on the cusp of it, but it's not pornography," Trew said.
First and foremost, Air Sex Championships is a comedy show, he said.
"If you're buying a ticket to Air Sex if you want to be turned on, that might happen depending on what your sexual preferences are," he said, but that's not by design. "The show is built to be funny and entertaining."
A panel of judges weighs in - more to provide color commentary than to grade the performances - and narrows the pool of competitors to a final three, who then perform together to a surprise song. The winner is based on audience applause.
Would-be competitors can seek inspiration from "Air Sex: The Movie," screening at the AMC Franklin Mills Mall on Tuesday.
One of Trew's favorite performers from over the years is an Atlanta woman whose routine involved taking a buzz saw to a cinder-block chastity belt. Another is the yogurt-cannon guy, a native Philadelphian.
"He's this very heavily pierced and tattooed guy who just looked so hard core that it was very pleasant whenever he pulled out this really goofy side," Trew recalled. "Stuff like that is really special to us."
Trew kicks off each show with a routine of his own. His advice on crafting a championship-winning act is that it all comes down to creative individuality.
"Are you going for a more cartoony, goofy aspect? . . . Or is it more of 'Whoa, I'm showing that I'm actually good [in the sack] and here's some [moves] you maybe had never seen before'?
"So, imagine that, with whatever costume, combined with really good song choice - and suddenly you have a routine that feels unique and, most importantly, funny."
It's sort of like striptease meets simulated orgasm, Trew said. "Add in comedy, plus add in the framework of professional sports and you've got a really interesting show that I'm super proud of."